Walmart lobbying: Panel probing charges to submit report by Apr

Walmart lobbying: Panel probing charges to submit report by Apr New Delhi: A government-appointed committee, that is probing into media reports on disclosures of Walmart in the US regarding its lobbying activities and whether the retail giant undertook any activity in India in contravention of law, will submit its report by April.

"The government has appointed one-man inquiry committee regarding media reports concerning Walmart vide resolution dated January 31, 2013. The committee has been asked to submit its report within three months from issuance of the resolution," Minister of State for Commerce and Industry S Jagathrakshakan said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

In January, the Union Cabinet had decided that the probe would be conducted by a retired judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a High Court.

The committee was mandated to inquire into media reports on disclosures of Walmart before the US senate regarding their lobbying activities

It will also probe whether the US retail giant undertook any activities in Indian in contravention of any Indian law.

As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart with the US Senate, the company had spent close to USD 25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to enhanced market access for investment in India.

The minister also said that the RBI has informed that the matter related to Bharti-Walmart/Cedar Support Services Ltd has been referred to the Enforcement Directorate for further investigations.

"No time frame has been fixed by the government for conducting the enquiry," he added.

Further, the minister said that the Central Vigilance Commission has informed that it has not received any demand from the All India Traders Association to inquire into alleged Walmart bribery case.

In a separate reply, he said that during the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, the CEO has conveyed that they are studying the conditions in India.

"He was assured about the finality of the policy on FDI in multi-brand retail trading and the provision clarifications on the policy, if required," he added.

PTI